“Omar! What's up, buddy?!” Val spoke to his best friend elatedly from the video screen, “I know, I know. That's a bad joke. But fuck it, I still think it's funny. Anyway, I suppose they asked you to do the eulogy. It was per my request so I at least hope they asked you. In fact, I sort of need you to so if anyone else is doing it then you need to fucking kill them. Or at least restrain them until after the funeral or something. Sabee? I know you must be really weirded out by now. And you're probably stressing about the eulogy on top of it!” Val smiled, “But I promise you...everything's gonna be okay. Even the eulogy! In fact, I'm gonna help you write the fucking thing. How's that for best friends? So here goes. First, just talk about how awesome I am and what a badass I was and how much I got laid and everything. Then talk about how I'm the shit. And then talk about how I'm totally money. But I'm sure that's pretty much what you had jotted down already...”
Omar stared at the TV screen in disbelief.
“...cut a lot of that out because my grandparents will probably be there and a lot of aunts and uncles and old people and such. It kind of sucks that you won't be able to use any profanity or play Mötley Crüe or anything. Which is what I would have wanted. I think that goes without saying. But I guess I'm still sort of joking again. I'm making light and you might not be in the mood for all that. So here's what I'll do. Why don't we switch to something serious for just a minute and then maybe, who knows...I might switch it back to something on the lighter side at the end if I remember. I do like to end things on a high note,” Val smiled again, “I'm sorry, I'm sorry. I promise, that's the last one. That was a good one though.”
Omar stared at the TV screen in disbelief.
“...that's really cool is you'll get to tell my parents something really important. In fact, you'll really be telling the world but it's my parents and family that it will probably mean more to than anyone else. Just imagine the looks on their faces when you tell them it wasn't a suicide! I swear to God, my mom will fucking kiss you! It wasn't a murder either in case they were worried about...which they probably were a little. I mean, it's not like I showed any signs of depression or anything. And why should I have?! I wasn't depressed! If anything, and I'll just confide in you here, I felt more exhilarated than at any other time in my life. Once I came up with the plan, that is. The idea! But we'll get back to that in a minute. But back to the murder thing. Those poor people probably thought I was murdered even though the cops, I'm sure, told them there weren't any signs of foul play. I feel kind of bad about that part...letting them wonder, I mean. But I had to. There really wasn't any other way. Sometimes... Like...” and Val had to think for a minute, “Like an artist! Oh my God! I can't believe this analogy didn't occur to me before now because it's so perfect! Like...you know how an artist, a painter, a master painter will keep his painting under a sheet or something until it's finished. Half-finished; it might just confuse people. Half-completed; the work might be misunderstood. And that would be very unfortunate. Because if there's one thing in this world...if there's one thing that's just really, truly awful; it's being misunderstood. Still...not everyone's going to understand, I guess. All we can do is aim to make our points and be satisfied with that. And just because something isn't understood all at once well...that just means it may be ahead of its time. Ya followin' me?” Val smiled again.
Omar stared at the TV screen in disbelief.
“...leads me to what this is really all about. The eulogy! Sort of. And the obit. The funeral itself should be coming up in something like the next 48 hours and I'm really gonna need your help on this one. I'm going to need you to help me be understood. And what could be more noble than that? And anyway, I'd really appreciate it. I guess it is sort of a last request. The thing is...and I know this is going to sound a little crazy at first but you'll have to bear with me a minute. Well, let me just ask you this? How many times in your life have you been told by your parents or your teachers or your mentors or whoever really...how many times have they told you that you have to just dive right into to something, ya know? A project or whatever the case may be. They say that that's the recipe for success. To expend yourself wholeheartedly if you want solid, concrete results. To pour your very soul into it even. To sacrifice everything and only then will you achieve...I don't know. Whatever it is you're after, I guess. Greatness? Some people would probably choose happiness. But you know me. I think it's greatness that I'm after most. And in order to achieve that greatness; one-hundred percent is what's required. One-hundred percent of your time...not to mention that you've really got to put your body on the line. And the craziest part is that I'm not even sure that I believe any of this shit. That's just what they tell us and, you know, I've heard it from a lot of different, respectable people so... I'm willing to give it a try. To take the plunge, if you will. Devotion. I'm willing to devote myself to... Well, I don't know. Originality is one of the rarest and most important things in this world...in my opinion, of course. So I guess you could say that, when I saw a chance to do something completely original, I felt like I needed to seize the opportunity. Plus, as you know, I'm an artist. I enrolled in art classes and everything only to learn, and quite quickly I might add, that those are all just complete bullshit. I guess I knew that they would be. I guess I should have known anyway. Those classrooms are mostly full of people just trying to be cool. The truth is; they don't give a damn about art...or originality, for that matter. They would never sacrifice anything, not even their time, for the sake of something needing to exist. And that's because they don't understand...or don't care. They don't realize that art exists in a realm outside this world and it calls to us. Often, it's more important than just the individual. Humanity needs it! The real shit. The true shit. It's like the manifestation of a dream and without dreams we'd all just be mindless fucking robots. There'd be no point to life. I wonder if animals feel like they have a point or not. I often wonder what animals dream about, if anything. You might think that I'm getting off track here a bit but I'm not. There's still something, as I've said, that I need you to do for me. I'm just trying to explain why I need you to. The obvious reason, the most literal, is that the cops have something of mine. Well, it might not be mine anymore. I suppose, if anything, that it belongs to the general public. It belongs to the world! To humanity! I'm going a bit overboard here but that's just for fun. Anyway...the cops are keeping it, I'm assuming, and so what I need you to do is get it back. I'm debating whether or not to send them a copy of this tape too. I don't know though. That is, I'm not sure if that would help this process along any. I've just never really liked cops, ya know. And I certainly don't trust them. Neither of those, though, are the big reasons why I wouldn't send them a copy of this tape. If I don't, it's because I've just concluded that cops truly are robots without dreams and that they... Well... That they wouldn't understand. They're definitely going to be hanging onto it though. What you'll probably need to do is convince them that it's not evidence. I'm assuming they'll have it in some sort of evidence room as I'm almost certain that there will be an ongoing criminal investigation...despite the fact there was no crime. No crime ever occurred. And that's what I mean. If you think it would help, feel free to bring this tape along so I can tell them, as I'm telling you, that no one was murdered here. That piece of property is not evidence. In fact...let's just call it an artifact that I'm bequeathing you. Perhaps, the most important artifact from my life...so take good care of it. And then...I don't know. Hopefully, it'll wind up in a museum or something. Also, feel free to sell it to a museum if you get a good price. You're welcome,” Val winked, “What I'm really hoping is that the cops don't just think I'm such a courteous guy...so courteous that I'd actually lay down a mat so that I might be cleaned up that much easier. If they do then all is lost. And I do mean all. But that's a bet I'm obviously willing to take. I'm confident that they'll keep it. I just hope that they don't fuck it up too badly. Rolling it up shouldn't do that much damage. In fact, most of it should be dry by then. I did pick canvas for this very purpose which seems fitting.”
Omar stared at the TV screen not really thinking about anything.
“...goes. You ready? Probably not but I'm gonna tell ya anyway. Take some time to think about it after I've explained. Really let it sink in before you cast any final judgments. And after that, I think you'll really love it. I'm an artist and this is art. Now, you can get into that whole 'does art imitate life or vice versa' thing but...that's not quite what this is all about. I guess it does bring up an interesting point though. Like...where does life end and art begin? And I'm about to attempt to answer that question. Just think! Since the dawn of Man, I don't think anyone has every tried to. They just keep asking the question over and over and over and seem content to do just that! Well, not me. My shit is much more groundbreaking. And maybe after this, people will finally have an answer. But if there still isn't one...at least I can say that I tried. Plus, no matter what, it's still really going to be one for the books,” Val paused again to think for a moment, “Did you know that it was my original plan to involve you at first? At first, I wanted you to be there when it actually all went down. This way, for our purposes, we might be able to avoid the police altogether. I wanted to but there was just too much that could go wrong plus...I didn't want you to get in trouble for anything.”
Omar began to fidget a little.
“...thing I need to make perfectly sure you understand. You, specifically. Other people may misinterpret this grand gesture but... You. I need to make sure you don't. So listen to me. This is not about death. Quite the opposite. If anything it will make me immortal. I'll be practically everywhere after this. All over the newspapers. All over the television. All over the internet. I'll be spread out all over the general human consciousness. People will be Tweeting my ass everywhere even...hopefully, with pictures. And that's really the key. If you want to find a way to immortality...or at least something more than just being human, then you have to find a way, obviously, to not be human anymore. To disintegrate into energy, if you will. Now, I do realize that famous people or even just the Joe Schmoes of this world who achieve their 15 minutes of fame wind up on the news or TV or seemingly everywhere at once for a duration of time; as long as their fame or appeal holds them intact. But I'm talking about something much bigger. Spiritual; I guess you could say even though I've never really considered myself a spiritual person. But, just to reiterate, I don't believe anyone can become truly immortal until they lose the 'mortal'. Only then will I be everywhere. Only then will I truly be spread out over all of this vast universe at once. Not to mention all over the pavement. The canvas will catch most of it. That's kind of the whole idea. But I'm sure there'll be some splatter. Like my teeth. For some reason I envision my teeth flying everywhere. I imagine people stopping along on the sidewalk and picking them up to keep as souvenirs. I have no idea why though. People are just weird like that. But you see now. It's the canvas that I really need you to retrieve. It would be awesome if you could get your hands on it by the time my funeral rolls around but, I'm just saying that if you can't, it's okay. But you have to get it at some point. I'm not trying to sound demanding or anything. It's just very important to me. It's artwork in its absolute form! Like...I've heard of people painting with their own feces or whatever but...this is so much better. There's gonna be blood, shit, brains, skin. Bone even! It's both a literal and metaphorical statement. Get it? You really have to apply yourself!” Val took a minute to laugh heartily before regaining his composure, “I knew you'd get it. That's why we're friends, man. Anyway, I'm thinking of giving a thumbs up on my way down so the people eating at the sushi joint across the street can...”
Omar stared at the TV screen and decided that he'd never really enjoyed his friend's sense of humor...not that he thought for a second that this was all some sort of a hoax. He couldn't. It had already happened and this so-called canvas was indeed down at the police station. Omar knew with certainty, though, that he would never meet a more interesting person as long as he lived. And isn't that what art is? Stuff that's interesting. Acts that are thought provoking? And if this was the case, then his friend was a great artist indeed. What he couldn't decide, however, was whether or not the world was ready to realize this...whatever it was. This conceptual ultimate.